How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels?
Solar panels have grown tremendously in popularity over the last few years. After all, they are an investment that not only brings renewable energy but also huge benefits on the long run. From stable electricity bills to tax credits, solar energy is here to stay. But, since solar panels are constantly exposed to the sun and other outside elements, they need to be maintained frequently to stay healthy and to get optimal performance. In this article, we will discuss the importance of regularly cleaning solar panels and the recommended frequency for it.
Keys Benefits of Regularly Cleaning Solar Panels
Routine cleaning of solar panels is important, as any dirt, dust, and bird droppings that accumulate on the surface of the panels can decrease their efficiency. Routine cleaning helps to ensure that the solar panels operate at peak efficiency and that the maximum amount of energy is produced.
Some of the key benefits of regularly cleaning solar panels include:
- Increases the energy and performance output.
- Helps to prevent solar inverter damage and malfunction.
- Improves the lifespan of the solar panels.
- Ensures that the panels are providing maximum value.
What Contributes to the Need for Regular Solar Panel Cleaning?
Solar panels are exposed to the environment and are susceptible to dirt, dust, and other airborne particles that can accumulate on the surface of the panels and cause them to become less efficient. This can mean that the solar panels are not getting the maximum amount of sunlight, leading to decreased energy production.
In addition to dirt, dust and other airborne particles, solar panels are exposed to rain, hail, and other weather conditions which can cause weathering and corrosion. In some cases, these weather conditions can damage the solar cells and decrease their performance.
Recommended Cleaning Frequency – Every 6 Months to Year
It is generally recommended to clean solar panels every 6 months to a year in order to maintain the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the panels. Depending on the environment and the surrounding area, this frequency may need to be adjusted.
Factors to Consider in Recommending Solar Panel Cleaning Frequency
- Local Climate: The climate in which the solar panels are located can have a significant impact on their performance and the amount of dirt and debris that accumulate on their surface. In humid climates, solar panels can become covered in salt-spray or pollen, while in arid climates they may be exposed to dust. In each case, the amount of dirt and debris that accumulate on the surface of the solar panels should be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate cleaning frequency.
- Pollution and Dust Build Up: Solar panels located in densely populated areas or regions with significant air pollution may experience a higher level of dirt and debris. This dirt and debris can reduce the performance efficiency of the solar panels, leading to decreased energy production. Regular cleaning of the panels is important to prevent this build up.
- Rooftop Shade: Solar panels located on rooftops are exposed to shade from trees, buildings, etc. This shade can reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar panels, which will lead to decreased energy production. Regular cleaning of the panels is important to ensure that the maximum amount of sunlight is able to reach them.
Proper Cleaning of Solar Panels
In order to clean solar panels properly, it is important to follow a few simple steps:
- Ensure that the solar panels are switched off. This will help prevent any potential damage or electrical shock.
- Use a soft cloth, or a hoover to remove any dirt or debris on the surface of the panels.
- Use a mild soapy solution to gently clean the panels, followed by a clean water rinse.
- Use a soft cloth to gently buff any remaining dirt away.
- As an optional extra step, a sealant or rain-repellent may be applied to the surface of the panels.
When cleaning solar panels, it is important to use materials that will not damage the surface of the panels. The following materials are recommended for regular cleaning:
- Soft cloth
- Mild soapy solution
- Clean water
The following brands are recommended for the above materials:
|Soft Cloth||Microfiber cloth|
|Mild Soapy Solution||Eco-Friendly Soap|
|Clean Water||Distilled Water|
DIY vs Hiring a Professional
The decision of whether to clean the solar panels yourself or to hire a professional will depend on the size and complexity of the system, as well as your own experience and comfort level with cleaning and maintenance. If you have a large system, it may be better to hire a professional solar panel cleaning company to ensure that the job is done thoroughly and properly. However, if you have a smaller system, then it may be more cost effective to clean the panels yourself.
Before starting any cleaning process, be sure to first check with your warranty or with the manufacturer in order to ensure that you are not voiding any warranties or agreements.
Conclusion – Maintaining Clean & Productive Solar Panels
Solar panels can provide an excellent source of renewable energy, but they require regular maintenance in order to remain efficient and effective. Regular cleaning of the solar panels is essential to ensure maximum energy production and to extend the life of the panels.
While it is generally recommended that solar panels are cleaned every 6 months to a year, the frequency of cleaning will ultimately depend on the type and location of the solar panel system, as well as local climate, pollution, and dust build up.
When cleaning the solar panels, take care to use the appropriate materials and products, and to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions. For larger systems, it may be wise to hire a professional to ensure that the job is done correctly, while for smaller systems it may be more cost effective for you to do it yourself.